Sunday, October 22, 2017

Film Review—Noroi: The Curse (2005)

Noroi: The Curse (Review)
Japan/2005
Format Viewed for Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...one of the best found footage films to date."

Masafumi Kobayashi (Jin Muraki), a documentarian who records paranormal incidents, investigates a series of supernatural events that may be linked to a demon known as 'Kagutaba.'

Noroi: The Curse is a mockumentary, like Shirome and Lake Mungo. The plot follows Masafumi Kobayashi's investigations of the paranormal. He investigates a woman named Junko Ishii, whose neighbor has complained about strange noises coming from her house; actress Marika Matsumoto (who plays herself), who is haunted by a malevolent entity after visiting a shrine; and a girl named Kana Yano, who has psychic powers. Hori, a peculiar psychic who warns everyone about 'ectoplasmic worms,' is also involved in some of these strange cases. Eventually, Kobayashi begins linking the pieces and traces the strange occurrences to a demon known as 'Kagutaba.' He attempts to unravel the mystery while trying to save everyone involved. It leads to a surprisingly disturbing ending.

Noroi: The Curse was a great experience. If you love documentaries about everything paranormal, I think you'll love this mockumentary. It is obviously fake, it's a movie after all, but it still feels authentic. In turn, it captures a grim, ominous atmosphere that helps build tension. The tension leads to disturbing visuals and shocking twists in the plot. In terms of horror, the film also makes great use of audio, which is often overlooked in the genre. By audio, I mean its music and its distorted sounds. This film actually doesn't have any jump-scares from what I remember, which is impressive. The film is a slow-burn, though. There are moments during the second half where it feels like it has completely run out of steam. Fortunately, it usually picks itself up quickly. I suppose another issue with the film is its occasionally contrived story. You'll probably wonder why police aren't heavily involved in the disappearance of a little girl, but it's not that big of an issue.

The acting was great. Jin Muraki performed well as the leading man. Marika Matsumoto also delivered a strong supporting performance. Rio Kanno and Tomono Kuga, who have smaller roles, were great. The film was shot well. You can consider this a found-footage movie, but it fortunately is shot as a fake documentary, so you don't have to worry about too much shaky cam—at least not until the end. And, you never really miss anything because of the way the film is edited so that's great, too. The screenplay was written by Kôji Shiraishi and Naoyuki Yokota, and Shiraishi also serves are director. Although there are some pacing issues, the film is well made. It perfectly captures the mood of a documentary while delivering a genuinely frightening story with plenty of chilling moments.

Overall, Noroi: The Curse is a great film. It's one of the best found footage films to date. It is a disturbing, suspenseful, and unnerving mockumentary. If you're a fan of slow-burn horror movies, you don't want to skip this one.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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